Greetings from Hannover, er Urbana, er …

From Hannover, Germany to historic Boone Tavern in Kentucky in less than 48 hours.

Well, the best-laid plans….

I began part two of the Hannover report on the way home to Urbana, Ill. — we flew to Chicago O’Hare Sunday night, then drove the 150 miles or so to Urbana. Monday was spent preparing for … Habitat for Humanity of Madison Clark Counties‘ (Kentucky)  20th Anniversary celebration. It’s part of a Habitat Green Summit event and includes a two-day pilot PHIUS builders/trades training program. And, we’ll be celebrating Kentucky’s first passive house project — a Habitat project led by CPHC Ginger Watkins. (Look for more on builders’ trainings later here on the blog.)

Whew, now, back to Hannover. In all, there was nothing dramatic to report. The American contingent seemed to be lower in numbers compared to last year, but no less enthusiastic or proud of their good work.

The workgroup presentations were as usual packed with good information ranging from technical information to reports and practitioners’ example buildings of all types. Some innovative ideas were certainly the highlights, such as an R-50 glass that is not relying on vacuum. (Still in research phase, but exciting nonetheless.)

Two items from the trade show stood out for addressing the last frontiers in problem solving: thermally broken highly insulated curtain wall facades (for example by Sto) and more refinement in compact units as by Stiebel Eltron.

Perhaps the best aspect of this year’s trip to the European conference was intangible: Seeing our longtime European friends like Jens Laustsen and Ludwig Rongen, both presenters at last year’s PHIUS Conference. And there was Manfred Brausem, who provided invaluable help back in 2002 when I first built the Smith House. He also helped me in 2005 when I presented the experience of the Smith House at the 8th International conference in Krems, Austria. I remain proud that it was first ever work group that was dealing with the international development of passive house and and the first ever track at that conference held in English!

They have been and remain PHIUS supporters, and send their regards to the U.S. community.

That’s it for now … time to explore Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. It’s a long way from Hannover, but it has its own rich, groundbreaking history.



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